Two Orange schools will trial an extension of 9am-3pm school hours next term.
Orange High School and Spring Hill Public School are among eight NSW schools across the state that will take part in the pilot program.
The trial will not change class and teaching times, instead the schools will partner with community organisations, local businesses and sporting clubs to offer a range of free activities for kids at school outside the standard school day times.
The program will run for 20 weeks across Term 3 and 4.
Two or three afternoons a week
Orange High School Principal Kristie Anderson said the details of the pilot at Orange High were still being worked through, however it would likely involve two to three afternoons a week, with activities to run for between an hour and an hour-and-a-half.
"Educational research tells us that two to three afternoons of extra curricular is optimal," Ms Anderson said.
Examples of the activities that my be offered include support sessions for year 7 and 8 students to help them manage the transition to high school, and "boot-camp" style sessions for HSC students focused on particular subject areas.
"We also know that our students have a very passionate interest in creative and performing arts and music, so at this stage we're just gathering information and data from our community and our kids and seeing what works best," Ms Anderson said.
The program will be delivered by external experts and agencies, with teacher involvement optional.
Creating a community hub
Ms Anderson said the plan would have benefits for students, staff and parents.
"Anything that welcomes our community into our school and creates more of that hub idea is wonderful to us. And our parents always benefit from opportunities to have their children given extra learning opportunities and support without having to run around to a million places in the afternoon."
The program would also "provide an opportunity to tailor interventions and learning opportunities that really hone into the things that students need as individuals," Ms Anderson said.
"We're excited to think we can offer even more as a school and to make sure our kids are getting the best educational opportunities."
The pilot program is part of a push by the NSW government to rethink traditional school hours and "maximise the school day to better suit the needs of students and parents."
The government says the pilot has been informed by research into current successful extended hours programs in schools, locally and overseas.
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